Sunday, February 11, 2007

Burn the Town and Sack the Banks by Price Part One

I am not a Civil War buff but there are many of you out there. The notion of brother fighting against brother for some abstract idea has an appeal to many. There way much fighting in my hosehold growing up. This often involved myself and the beloved Rav Roov fighting death syle matches over Turkey Wings, Meatloaf or Roast Beef end cuts.

However, the book is about a little known episode in St Albans Vt. The title of the book might sound like what would happen if they closed the local liqour store. Recently two major bars closed and I wanted to start a telethon for Ernest and Julio's kids. The idea did not go over with the locals who assured me there will be no dispaced alcoholics, at least those who were not displaced before the two bars closed.

Lost in the saga of the Blue and the Gray are sagas that happened away from the armies. The noted NYC draft riots were the most spectacular of these incedents. Those of you who were lucky enough to read the Gangs of NY book by Asbury understand the magnitude of this mostly forgotten history. Do note Asbury has a touch of Paul Buyan in him. Far smaller than that was the Conferate raid on St Albans VT.

Many of you are wondering how Confederates could stage a raid so far from their lines. Many Confederates made their way into Canada, some were escaped POW. The Canadian border is around twenty minutes by car. The route the raiders took is marked along RTE 105. There are plaques along the route one can follow.

The first chapter describes the War effort in VT. VT was an abolitionist hotbed
and the underground railroad went through the state into Canada. The state exceeded
Washington's request for troops and whole towns were depopulated. The book describes the dedication to the war effort. Women did jobs men performed. Packages were sent to the troops who endured bad food. Money was sent by the soldiers to relatives who were needy.

The book describes how many businesses expanded durring the war time. A favorite of mine is the story about the Justin Morgan ( not Morris) horses. Apparently, there was a local variety of horses known for their intelligence, speed, power and longevity. The original Justin Morgan horse lived to be 32.

The raiders were motivated by the tactics of the Union in the South.

However I want to leave the readers to ponder the wisdom of this passage.

George McClellan wrote to Abe Lincoln describing the method to conduct the war.

" It should not be, at all, a War upon population; but against armed forces and political organizations.......In prosecuting the War, all private property and unarmed persons should be strictly protected; subject only to the necessities of military operations".

Lincoln turned to Grant, Sheridan and Sherman who had different visions of how to win the war. Have we become too much like McClellan in the war on terror. This is not to say America should revert to Ghengis Khan. Just something to ponder.

The next part for us to ponder is the of Lt Meigs.

General Sheridan viewed the death of Lt Meigs as an assasination. He viewed the adjacent community as being responsable for this act. Sheridan burned every house in the adjacent area and it became known as the burnt district. Do note unlike Liddice none of the inhabitants were gunned down. The question is two fold if we burn down blocks in a place like Falujah we create more refugees. However, the people of Falujah have three choices keep the insurgents out, share the fate of the insurgents
or become refugees. There is some legitimacy fom the first point of view. Yet are we being Mclellan like and wasting lives rather than getting results. There is a line of tactics that ranges from McClellan to Sheridan to Ghengis Kahn. Maybe we need to be more Sheridan like.


FLORIAN said...

McClellan was the biggest coward of the North. He had an army almost twice as large as Lee's Northern Virginia and still struggled to win a major battle against him--Antietam was by no means a victory since he didn't follow up on his feats. It was more of a draw. I will say though that his invasion of the Virginia via the Penninsula was pure genius, he was just plain outsmarted though and thought he was dealing with 200,000 Confederates when in reality there were only about 85,000-95,000. Grant had the guts to not worry about casualities and threw his numerically superior forces at the enemy which inevitably won the war--though at a high cost.
I am 100% with you on that we fight the war on terror like a pansy McClellan. If we had a couple Grant's, Sherman's, Custer's, Sheridan's, Patton's, or Pershing's we'd have the fanny muslims looking like fairies right about now.

beakerkin said...

Moving to today our troops face obstacles Grant or even Patton did not face, the media. Our enemy uses our McClellan type weakness to its advantage.

This is not to say that we should revert to Ghengis Kahn tactics. However, we can not run a war with a Dr Suess mindset.

FLORIAN said...

Grant was called "the butcher" by the Northern appeasment press at the time of his wilderness campaign--though the press wasn't as hostile then as it is now. We also had a President back then who would win no matter what--Bush is a coward in this respect not telling congress to shut the hell up and take it. He's afraid to stand up it seems like. If a democrat wins in 08' it'll be the beginning of the end for America.
PS: Ghenghis Khan tactics might be all that will save us from the enemy--but they'd go straight to the UN and Dems and complain about it.

The Merry Widow said...

Beaker-On the contrary the northern media despised Lincoln and hated him. They helped fuel the rioting and vilified Lincoln. Only thing is, Lincoln had guts and was honest, unlike present leadership!


beakerkin said...

Florian and TMW

I am aware of the hostile press and the draconian tactics emloyed by Licoln. I also have fallen off the Bush bandwagon but for a different reason.

We have known for a while that the Iranians, Hezbollah and Syria have aided the insurgents. These facts were never brought to the attention of the Nation. Israel was fighting the very same people making the IED and sending men. Yet the case was never presented to the American people.

I am a tad more optomistic as our nation survived Jimmy Carter and eight years of Clinton.

There is an oddity known as the third generation. The first generation of imigrants is steeply immersed in the country of origin.
The second generation is the most dificult as they walk in two worlds.

If we survive without a catostrophic act of nuclear terorism the third generation may be Americanized. Maybe we will see
more Stephen Schwatrz types than CAIR clowns. This seems far fetched today but may be closer than we realize.

We will not get to this future by becoming like Ducky and creating a warped Disneyfied version of Islam.
The funny thing is we need to be more "inclusive" in the treatment of the realities of Islamic Civ.

Nobody in their right mind excuses Jim Crow or the brutal treatment of Native Americans. It does not make me less of an American to recognize those realities.

The time has come to put Islamic Civ under the same examination without the Marcuse victims pyramid.

Anyone awake.

America's future may be brighter than we think. The joy of Reaganism was can do. It is the essence of Americanism. We will recapture that spirit at some point. Perhaps Rudy will be the spark, but we need to get back to the attitude of can do.

Sominex time

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

You forget that the only battlefield the US is losing on is on the front page of the New York Times.

Ask Zarqawi how he feels about the necessity of a troop surge in Baghdad. Ask Saddam Hussein if America will withdraw in defeat.

Oh, yeah. You can't.

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

McClellan's idiocy almost cost the North the war.

In 1862, the Confederate general Early stood across the Potomac from Washington DC with an army of some 20,000 men poised to attack and capture Abraham Lincoln, but Early cautious withdrew thinking it was a trap - there's no way the capital of the Union would be totally unguarded, he thought.

There were only 5,000 Union troops in Washington at the time, with no reinforcements, or supplies.

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

I imagine the world watches our actions and reads our media and concludes that we're a giant crying about how we shouldn't smash people's faces in, as we smash people's faces in.

beakerkin said...

Mr B

The opinion of the American people is where this war will be won or lost. The question still remains have we become too much like McClellan.

I certainly am not endorsing anything Ghengis Kahn like. Maybe Sheridan knew something we don't.
Maybe the time of the logic of Sheridan has past. Yet fighting like McClellan ensures an endless prolongation and deaths with no results.

The only way out is if the Iraqi army is built up. This takes time
and I have heard nothing about the Afghan Army.

beakerkin said...

Mr B

The other John Edwards has said he has made contact with both Zarqawi and Saddam. Their message is please send some toaster strudels
and a few boxes of Orville Redenbeaker. There was some mistranslation and there are no vigins down here. Only women who look like Madeline Albright and Yentyl on cable 24/7

kuhnkat said...

Beakerkin stated,

"The funny thing is we need to be more "inclusive" in the treatment of the realities of Islamic Civ."

I would point out that before 9/11 there were virtually NO problems with Muslims. The problems we currently have are due more to the Polarization of the Insurgents in CAIR and other organisations.

I would also point out that there was MUSLIM terrorism against the US noticeably since the '70's.

In other words, we have been more inclusive with Muslims than many other groups who became great Americans. They have had it TOO EASY and have little respect for the country, its laws, its values, and its citizens!!



Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Ghengis Khan got a bum's rap.

beakerkin said...


You are on the money.


I hate to say this but that is 100% true if you judge him by the standards of the era. Kahn was more humane than the Muslims he conquered.

He should not be confused with Alexander or some of the Persian conquerors.

As the great Richard Poe stated ancient civilizations should be viewed at a distance.

sonia said...

It's fascinating to hear you debate the Civil War from the Northern point of view. I always side with the South. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are my heroes. Burnside is an incompetent fool, McClellan is serving the wrong cause, and Grant and Sherman are war criminals and butchers.

Elmer's Brother said...

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is one of my favorite civil war heroes..he was New Englander...governor of Maine...and a great warrior.

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...


Although my Alabama blood runs thick in my veins, I will not agree with you that the North had the wrong cause.

The causes of the Civil War date back to the very formation of our government. Democrats (anti-Federalists) were opposed to the ratification of the Constitution, and much like today, would very much like to see it discarded. Especially in a process that kills Americans.

Look at the way Democrats fight wars (WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam) - tossing flesh instead of bombs at the enemy.

Nothing makes Democrats happier than dead Americans.

Always On Watch Two said...

Mr. Beamish said,
The causes of the Civil War date back to the very formation of our government.

Last week, I was expounding to my students on that very concept in my American History class.

Today, the Dems are the proponents of big government. But were the Dems of Lincoln's day in favor of big government or more in favor of states' rights? I've read a lot about how the South interpreted the 9th and 10th Amendments as giving the Southern states the option of seceding.

As to war, a "just war," one with "humane" rules of engagement, has never been won. War needs to give a decisive victory to one side. Sherman and Sheridan understood that reality.

the book is about a little known episode in St Albans Vt. The title of the book might sound like what would happen if they closed the local liqour store.


Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...


The Constitution begins with a preamble stating the intent to create a "more perfect union."

It also delineates a national currency and places interstate commerce under federal jurisdiction.

The "states rights" argument is for people not particularly interested in the US Constitution (i.e. Democrats)

"Big government" is the Jacksonian spoils system run amok. Now we have government unions spending taxpayer money to campaign for Democrats that vote themselves pay raises.

American Crusader said...

Sherman's scorched earth policy led to deep resentment that is still felt in certain areas of Georgia today.
But his purpose was to destroy the psychological capacity of the South to continue the war.
He was successful.

beakerkin said...

I do not know if the Sheridan model lends itself to Iraq. If we burnt Falujah to the ground would the enemy be demoralized.

We'd end up rebuilding it anyway. We are all McClellan.

Always On Watch Two said...

Rebuilding before really stomping the hell out of the enemy--and I do mean really stomping--is stupidity.

Always On Watch Two said...

From yesterday's WaPo, this commentary:

Before handing the message to the clerk for transmission, however, Lincoln reconsidered the outburst that put McClellan in his place and scratched through it. The marks reveal the struggle between the president's great frustration and his better judgment as to when and how to deliver such a rebuke.

Yet Lincoln did not hold back from expressing himself. A few months later, the president saw a wire from McClellan to another general that attributed McClellan's failure to pursue the Confederates after the Battle of Antietam to the poor condition of his horses. There is an almost audible snap in Lincoln's self-control as he fires back (misspellings and all), "I have just read your despatch about sore tongued and fatiegued horses -- Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigue anything?" It was an insight into a decision the president was in the process of making; less than two weeks later he fired McClellan.